Browns extend contract offers to top free agents Anderson, Lewis

CLEVELAND -- The Browns have made contract offers to quarterback Derek Anderson and running back Jamal Lewis, key players they hope to keep off the free-agent market.

A team spokesman confirmed proposals were sent to the representative for both players, but he could not provide details about the length or value of the deals.

Anderson, who won 10 games and threw 29 touchdown passes in his first season as a starter, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent on Feb. 29. If the Browns can't lock him up with a long-term deal before then, they can tender him with a one-year contract worth $2.52 million.

The club would then be able to match any contract offers made to Anderson by other teams or receive first- and third-round draft picks as compensation if the 24-year-old signs with another team.

Lewis rushed for 1,304 yards and nine TDs in his first season with the Browns, who signed him to a one-year, incentive-stuffed contract worth $5 million last March. Lewis, who can become an unrestricted free agent, has said he wants to stay with Cleveland.

However, keeping him could be a challenge as several other teams may attempt to sign the 28-year-old, who is coming off his most productive season since rushing for 2,066 yards for Baltimore in 2003.

Meanwhile, the Browns have yet to finalize a contract extension for coach Romeo Crennel. His agent, Joe Linta, met with general manager Phil Savage during this week's Senior Bowl activities in Mobile, Ala.

Crennel led the Browns to a 10-6 turnaround in his third season. He has two years remaining on a five-year package he signed in 2005. Savage recently said the Browns would "do right" by Crennel.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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